In this post I’ll be covering adaptogens for adrenal fatigue, we’ll first explore what they are and dig into a few potent and helpful ones 🙂
Adaptogens For Adrenal Fatigue
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are a category of plants that have the unique ability to ‘adapt’ and aid the body to recover from various types of stressors, including physical, chemical and biological (1). Their unique ability allows them to act as stabilsers that help bring things back into balance. Many of the adaptogenic herbs come from the plant family ‘Araliaceae’.
Panax, Eleutherococcus and Withania all exert great affects on the adrenals so looks look at these more closely.
Panax- aka Panax Ginseng or Korean Ginseng
Although human studies have not been done extensively on panax ginseng, various animal studies have shown positive effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), helping to improve the negative feedback loop and sensitivity to cortisol. If you missed what that is in the previous article, the hypothalamus is the area of the brain that controls the hormone function of adrenals, thyroid and ovaries/gonads.
So ginseng can help stop the negative feedback loop and allow cortisol levels to normalise.
Also known as Acanthopanax, Ciwijia, and siberian ginseng. This herb helps the body cope under physical stressors and can help you perform better as a result. It also helps improve mental clarity and performance under such circumstances. In one study, Eleutheroccus (another name for Siberian Ginseng) showed a 40% reduction in heart rate response when participants were put under physical stress. (1)
Withania somnifera aka Ashwagandha
Withania somnifera is more commonly known as Ashwagandha and it’s also called Indian ginseng. It’s long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Again it has been shown to be an potent anti stress herb and have anabolic activity. In animal experiments Ashwaganda was shown to minimise biological changes under extreme stressors. This included keeping blood sugar and cortisol levels under control.
Ashwaganda has been shown to be safer for long term use than Panax ginseng.
All of these adaptogens can help provide a tonic affect and help your body find balance more quickly.
A few other adaptogens you might find
The adaptogens mentioned above are the ones that are more specifically geared toward adrenal fatigue but there are a few others that you might see in combo supplements or elsewhere, so I thought I’d mention them. They will also be helpful too.
*Rholdiola rosea – another great adaptogen that is often used for improving mood and depression, improving mental and physical performance and helping to aid fatigue. This one is best used only where there is low cortisol levels.
*Astragalus – one of my all time favourite adaptogens that I have been using for years. It’s great for colds, flus and anything that requires a boost in immunity. So this can be included as a general immune tonic.
Sometimes you can find the adaptogens mixed with B vitamins and other adrenal supportive herbs. Such as this Stress Support Supplement I recommend to my clients who are Australian residents. It has Ashwaganda and a combo of B vitamins.
You’ll find there are a variety of adrenal support combos out there on the market today.
Here’s a few good ones I found:
Please share this article if you found it helpful 🙂
Nutritionist & Health Coach
1. Head KA, Kelly GS. Nutrients and botanicals for the treatment of stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review. 2009;14(2):114-140.
2. Ghen MJ, Moore CB. Implications of adrenal insufficiency. – Google Scholar search.
3. Dr James Wilson author of ‘Adrenal Fatigue. The 21st century stress syndrome’.
4. Whitney E, Rolfes SR, Crowe T, Cameron-Smith D, Walsh A. Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand edition. South Melbourne. Cengage Learning. 2011.
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